Ryan Blaney, the last car to qualify Saturday afternoon (March 12), knocked Denny Hamlin off the pole for Sunday’s Ruoff Mortgage 500k at Phoenix Raceway. It is Blaney’s first pole of 2022 and his third career pole at Phoenix Raceway.
“Was happy obviously with speed in qualifying…gave a little back [in turn 4], definitely needed [this] after Vegas,” Blaney said after his qualifying run. “I try not to stew on things,” he added in, reflecting on his Las Vegas misfortune.
Blaney’s lap was seven-hundredths of a second quicker than Hamlin. Hendrick Motorsports’ William Byron will start third, then Christopher Bell and Aric Almirola. Stewart-Haas Racing’s Chase Briscoe starts sixth after having to replace a brake rotor after practice, then Kyle Larson. Austin Cindric, who was fastest in practice, will start eighth while Alex Bowman and Joey Logano round out the top 10. In Logano’s case, he nearly spun out exiting turn 4 on his qualifying lap, dropping him back to 10th.
The notable absence from qualifying was Ricky Stenhouse Jr. He suffered engine issues in practice and had to do an engine swap, rendering him unable to make a qualifying run. He will have to start at the rear on Sunday.
There will be a jumbled pit stall selection for Sunday’s race as nine separate teams failed pre-race inspection twice. These teams will lose one crewmember each and have to wait to pick their pit stall until after the others get their chance. Of the group, only Bell managed to qualify in the top 10. The others are Kyle Busch (starts 11th), Tyler Reddick (starts 12th), Erik Jones (starts 14th), Ty Dillon (starts 21st), Cole Custer (starts 25th), Landon Cassill (starts 31st), Todd Gilliland (starts 33rd) and Garrett Smithley (starts 35th).
FOX will have coverage of the Ruoff Mortgage 500k Sunday starting at 3:30 p.m. ET. Pre-race coverage begins at 2 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1 with NASCAR RaceDay.
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